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07-27-2007

Dow: PE from Sugar Cane in Brazil

The Dow Chemical Company and Crystalsev, one of Brazil’s largest ethanol players have announced plans for a world-scale facility to manufacture polyethylene (PE) from sugar cane.

The two companies intend to form a joint venture in Brazil to design and build the first integrated facility of its scale in the world. It is expected to start production in 2011 and will have a capacity of 350,00 metric tons. The venture is supposed to combine Dow’s leading position in PE with Crystalsev’s know-how and experience in ethanol.

The plant will use ethanol derived from sugar cane to produce ethylene - the raw material required to make polyethylene. Ethylene is traditionally produced using either naphtha or natural gas liquids, both of which are petroleum products. It is estimated that the new process will produce significantly less CO2 compared to the traditional PE manufacturing process.

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